Wednesday of the Week of Lent II
Today’s readings: Jeremiah 3:6-18; Romans 1:26–2:11; John 5:1-18
“Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Rom 2:4)
Our reading today is much debated, as St. Paul talks about people giving themselves up to “dishonorable passions” and women and men exchanging unnatural relations for natural. Paul goes on, however, to indict all of us sinners, leaving no one free to be judge over another. Paul asserts there will be judgment for every human being who does evil, for God shows no partiality. Paul asks, “Do you suppose that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God?” He lists such things as wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Each of us can find ourselves convicted in his listing of sinful behavior. Paul tells us God is judge—not us.
Without a doubt, we are called to recognize and strive for godly behavior and obedience. We must call sin exactly what it is: sin. But we are warned not to consider ourselves as judge over others. And while Paul is writing about sin, judgment and wrath in this passage, even more he is writing about grace!
Paul asks, “Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” This is the crux of Paul’s discussion. This is the turning point, always, for Paul’s argument. God’s grace, mercy and kindness are meant to lead us to repentance! We do turn away from God. We are all sinners and none of us is righteous in and of ourselves. But God offers us forgiveness, that we will repent and receive His grace—to begin again and anew, through new life in Christ!
Prayer: Lord God, because you are kind, gracious and forgiving, lead me to repentance and renewal this season of Lent! Amen.
Lenten Response: Pray the “Jesus Prayer” continually throughout the day: “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.
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Source: NALC Devotions